Tag Archives: cold

Carrot Soup

29 Sep

SoupAfter the party and the cakes and cupcakes and cookies … and the traumas of today (Z had her 1 year checkup and injections at the doctor) … it was time for something soothing. It has also been quite rainy these last few days, so I decided to make carrot soup. Well, that, and we had plenty of carrots left over from the party! The preponderant taste of this soup is carrot, but it has the addition of just a bit of butternut for silkiness, and some tomatoes for heartiness.

I do love soups. When youre ill, and you just dont want to eat, soup can tempt you with its scent, its warmth, its comfort factor. When its rainy outside, soup makes everyone feel good. And on hot days, a cold soup is a refreshing option for a quick meal. Speaking of which, this carrot soup is just as good cold as it is hot – and its amazing orange glow immediately raises the spirits!

I served the soup with toast, spread with the last of the artichoke spinach dip. It was such a great contrast – the sweetness of the carrots juxtaposed with the salty creaminess of the dip. Warm garlic bread would also be a nice option here … just think about how to make the sweetness pop by adding a salty element.

This soup serves 4 people, with leftovers. Enjoy, hot or cold 😉

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for flavour as well as for sauteing the onions)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder or 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups carrots, washed and chopped (skin on is fine)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup butternut
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (you can use canned if you have to but fresh is better)
  • 2 cups water
  • A few tablespoons cream, sour cream, almond or soy milk or coconut milk

In a large pot, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. I specify extra virgin here because it adds a depth of flavour to the soup. If you dont have it, use regular olive oil or vegetable oil.

Saute the onion until it becomes glossy and soft. Add the garlic, and stir well. Season with paprika, oregano and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Add the carrots, butternut and tomatoes in batches. Stir after each addition, and allow the vegetables to soften a bit.

Add the water, and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or so, or until all the vegetables have softened. You may find you need to add more water, but do this judiciously. You want quite a thick soup.

Once all the vegetables have softened, puree the soup using an immersion blender, or a stand blender or food processor. Be careful as the soup will be quite hot!

CarrotTaste and adjust seasonings. I often find I need to add a touch more salt.

Just before serving stir in the cream or milk. Do not bring to the boil, but heat until simmering.

Serve with toast on the side for a comforting bright meal.

Cold Avocado Sesame Noodles

13 Jul

Avocado Sesame NoodlesSomething simple, cool, very tasty and delicious. Its dinner time and I really dont want to go to too much effort. I want something that is toothsome, filling and tasty. I still have a few avocados left from the taco night, so I thought hmmmm. Avocados and sesame go together really well. I could do a Japanese style sesame dressing, some cold noodles, and slices of rich very good for you avo. Purrrrfection. And then I looked into my bounty bag from the organic delivery, and decided to roast some mustard greens (otherwise known as sawi hijau) to top it all off.

I feel like I need simple, non complex meal, because today was a massive cooking day – but not for me! My cats, who are obligate carnivores, have been seeing a TCVM (traditional Chinese veterinary medicine) doctor for the last couple of weeks – she is wonderful! She suggested that I make a chicken stew for them to supplement their over processed kibbles and canned diet. Thank goodness I had help, because as a vegetarian there was no way I would have been able to do this myself. So chicken stew it was, and if youre looking for a great traditional Chinese medicine vet who does acupuncture, please visit Dr Susanna’s website!

Anyway, on to the meal! This is a bit of a puttering around the kitchen dinner. Good for a hot humid night (every night in KL!) and fantabulous as a make ahead for a picnic. You need to give the noodles and sauce a little time to get acquainted in the fridge (hence the roasted greens) and for the flavours to really shine through.

Please use your own sense of taste for the dressing. I like mine sweet sour salty – but you may prefer a sweeter or saltier version. Dont get too tied down by the recipe, just go with what you like, dip your finger in and taste, and adjust accordingly.

This will make a meal for four.

  • 1 package Japanese noodles (or instant Chinese egg noodles)
  • 2 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise (or Vegannaise if youre vegan)
  • 1 + 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sushi vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Ginger, grated (about the size of your pinkie)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • Juice of 2 small limes
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • 2 avocados

First, follow the directions on the packet, and cook the noodles. Mine were about 5 minutes on the boil. As soon as they are al dente (still firm to the bite, but cooked through), drain and run under cold water to cool. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, 1 tbsp of sesame seeds, peanut butter, roasted sesame oil, soy sauce, sushi vinegar, honey and olive oil. Grate the garlic and ginger over, and squeeze a few limes into the mix. Beat well with a fork, and taste. Adjust to your liking – your honey may be much sweeter than mine – if so use less, or add a touch more soy to add more salt. You want a shiny bowl of sesame scented sweetsoursalty sauce.

Pour all the sauce into a serving bowl, or even the cooking saucepan that you made the noodles in. Handful by handful, add the noodles into the sauce, tossing with each handful. You could use tongs for this, but to be honest, I prefer using my hands! You want the noodles coated with the sauce, without being overwhelmed by it. You also dont want so many noodles that the sauce fades into insignificance. This is an equal partnership! Taste as you go, you will know when you have a good balance.

Cut a handful of fresh basil into the bowl (or parsley if you dont have basil, or even some gorgeous mint, or coriander if you like it). Mix well, and put in the fridge for at least half an hour.

When it comes time to serve, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. If you have roasted the mustard greens, arrange them prettily around the side of your bowl. Slice a couple of avocados over, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with extra lime and soy to sprinkle over, and chopsticks!

You could gild the lily and add a few chopped tomatoes to this, but I personally love the cool green nature of this dish.

Perfect for a hot summers night.